Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Hospital tried to silence whistleblower; up to 1,000 patients may have died from negligence

(NaturalNews) A hospital trust where conditions were so bad that more than 1,000 patients may have died due to negligence actively tried to stop employees from raising concerns about patient safety, according to an inquiry conducted by the British Health Department.

"Staff have known about the problems on the wards for many years, but there has been no means by which they can bring them up," said a health official close to the inquiry. "Those who have tried to do so have been shot down. Some have been ordered to withdraw or hide their allegations."

One egregious case occurred following the death of John Moore-Robinson, a 20-year-old who was admitted to the hospital following a mountain bike accident in April 2006. He was discharged with painkillers and died less than 24 hours later from a ruptured spleen that health workers had failed to detect.

In his report on the incident, consultant Ivan Phair concluded that, "The premature death of Mr. Moore-Robinson in my opinion was an avoidable situation. I feel that an independent expert would criticize the management afforded to him by the staff. There is a high probability that the level of care delivered to Mr. Moore-Robinson was negligent."

The hospital's head of services, Kate Levy, then wrote to Phair asking him to remove these comments from his report in order to avoid "further distress to the family and adverse publicity." Phair's report was not included in data presented to the inquest following the death.

Another consultant, Pradip Singh, told the inquiry that he and several coworkers had complained to superiors about staff cuts and the ensuing reduction in standards of care. They were either ignored or ostracized as troublemakers.

According to Singh, the hospital suffers from a "palpable culture of intimidation." Data submitted to the inquiry note that the hospital's written policy on whistleblowers actively discourages employees from raising concerns.


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